There are six main reasons for World Bank involvement in the Ghana Social Opportunities Project (GSOP). 
First, this operation makes a significant contribution to mitigate the adverse impacts of global financial crisis by:
•    expanding income-earning opportunities in some of the poorest districts of Ghana;
•  expanding much needed social assistance cash support to critically vulnerable groups whose well-being would undoubtedly worsen in the absence of such support; and
•    contributing to government‘s efforts to rationalize and strengthen the social protection framework so that in the event of any future economic crisis, safety net programs are quickly expanded and the suffering of vulnerable groups is mitigated.
Image AltSecond, the government has recognized the absence of an employment-generating, labour-based public works program as a major gap in the overall social protection policy and program framework. The project would support the development and rollout of such a program filling a gap in the social protection system. Third, the Country Economic Memorandum (CEM, 2007) and the draft Poverty Assessment (2010) recognize that a more active attention to regional disparities within Ghana would result in a wider sharing of the benefits of growth. These studies point out that in disadvantaged regions— particularly in the Northern Savannah Zone—most poor farm-based workers face high levels of unemployment for five months of the year, resulting in serious income (and consumption) shortfalls and consequential adverse nutritional outcomes.

The first phase of the proposed project although originally meant to be  rolled out in the three northern regions specifically targeted in the GPRS, has included some other districts in the other seven regions which have high levels of poverty.  It would assist in several critical areas of this strategy, in particular the combination of:
i.    post-flood rehabilitation of infrastructure,
ii.    improved income security and safety-net coverage, 
iii.    improved risk management and disaster preparedness, and 
iv.    combining safety nets with building productive assets.
Fourth, the CEM recognized that the poor state of infrastructure remains a major obstacle to economic development. Moreover, maintenance of existing infrastructure has been neglected. For example, in rural Ghana, most of the earth dams and feeder roads are in very poor condition. A labour-based rural public works program would be eminently suited both to develop new small-scale infrastructure, to maintain existing infrastructure, critical for ensuring rural growth. A recent Participatory Poverty and Vulnerability Assessment (PPVA) in northern Ghana and project consultations at the community level confirmed that rehabilitating dams, dugouts, and feeder roads are top priorities for the rural poor.

Fifth, the project builds on earlier Bank support to LEAP under the sixth Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC) in the wake of floods and droughts in the North in September 2007 and continuing support since then by DFID and UNICEF/USAID. It will support improved administration and targeting of LEAP, reinforce the self-help aspect, and increase flexibility in responding to emergencies. There is recognition in GoG and among partners of the need to build additional capacity at all levels within the LEAP administration.

Sixth, there is a need to support the government‘s objective of rationalizing social protection instruments by increasing resources to those that are more effective in reaching the poor and reducing resources to those that are less effective. This would allow the country to provide safety nets to an increasing proportion of the poor despite the current fiscal crunch. The project supports this through three components: (i) support to the strategy at the national level by helping to make it better targeted to the poor; (ii) support to develop a labour-based public works program to fill a critical gap in social protection; and (iii) join with other donors to help the government develop the LEAP Program into a national targeted safety net which can become a vehicle to move resources from non-targeted to targeted programs. The Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) progress report, which was reviewed and endorsed in January 2010, commits the World Bank to support social protection in line with the new government‘s strategy.

Finally, the Bank is well placed to draw upon global experience and successful innovations in the design of safety net programs. In this context, recent evaluation results have shown promising outcomes from the Productive Safety Net Program in Ethiopia, which was launched with the financial and technical assistance of the Bank. In the past, the Bank has had much success in public works programs even in middle-income countries like South Korea and Argentina. Currently, it is providing financial and technical assistance via a Development Policy Credit to Rwanda to enable the country to launch a public works program adopting global best practice policies; it is also providing similar financial and technical assistance for public works in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Finally, the Bank is the only donor in the country with both the technical knowledge of various sectors and the focus on cross-cutting issues, which enables it to help the government refocus its social protection priorities and move resources over time to targeted from non-targeted programs.